We count days as small fractions of our lives, it can be easy to take them for granted. Each night we close our eyes to sleep we make a promise with our subconscious to believe that we'll wake up again. Days are guaranteed in a world where social media memories only count the years, but what's in a day?
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel home for work and visit my friends and family, who I haven't seen in months. It felt so good to be with them. I could feel their love and appreciation and, most importantly, the sense of belonging that I left behind. When I returned to work, I came back to a birthday celebration for a fellow coworker.
She found her desk covered in decorations in honor of her special day, organized by other early-rising coworkers. While we were slicing into a delicious cake, I noticed a blue poster hung up on her wall. It read "18,250 Days Old". I pulled out my phone and Googled my age in days. I had just turned 7,680 days old that afternoon. Thoughts ran through my head at hundreds of miles per hour. 'What have I done with my life?' 'What will I do with it?'
Aside from all the various differences people have, every single one of us only has two things completely in common:
1. Everyone dies.
2. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day.
Each day, about 50-70 billion cells are made and die in your body, your mind will process thousands of thoughts, you will encounter new and familiar faces. You have the opportunity to choose to get out of bed in the morning, go to work, and have a good experience while living. Some days are better than others, some are longer, but no matter what, today is the most important day of your life. You alone have the power to influence someone's life for better or for worse.
We believe we have time. We'll always have more time to procrastinate, to put it off until tomorrow. Although tomorrow was never a guarantee. Today, scientists argue the existence of time – it seems that its importance shrinks each year. While time can lead to growth and individual improvement, people are easily fooled by the illusion that time is responsible for change. Only fools believe that the future owes them something. Instead, believe that the future is for those who take it. Until you breathe your last breathe, you alone have the power to do something with your life every day. Then comes death.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: Everyone fears death. We all ask the question: what happens when I die? There isn't an easy answer. The topic is seen as taboo in some cultures and uncomfortable for many. Because of this notion, many of us lack the skill to handle death with grace and peace. In some places like Oaxaca, México, people have created new ways to express their feelings about the inevitable conclusion. El Día De Los Muertos is an opportunity for people to honor the memory of their loved ones who have gone before them. Mexicans fear death as much as any other culture, but they reflect that fear by mocking and living alongside death for a few days each year. With this approach, the personification is no longer a terrifying grim reaper, but a stage of life. Death is laughed at in its face.
I know this can seem confusing so let me break it down for you. Since death is coming along for the ride, why not enjoy it while we can? Of course, you don't have to embrace death in your life like the Oaxacans. Although you should at least acknowledge it because in doing so you will be reminded of how precious each moment of your life is.
Death will never have victory over you. The Apostle Paul spells this out in his letter to the Romans by saying "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39). Ultimately, death will lose its sting when this life is over.
Understanding and accepting that time is limited, ask yourself: Starting right now, what can I do in 1,000 days? What about 5,000? 10,000?
This article is not supposed to be a depressing statement to remind you of certain death. On the contrary, I wrote this in hopes that you would celebrate your mortality by owning each day. Make a legacy. Make your memorial the kind where people aspire to live a life full of growth, excitement, and love. Enjoy your family, fall in love, travel. I'm not saying these are the things that make your life perfect, rather, I believe they are the start to a lifelong learning experience. An experience where you never stop growing, your heart grows bigger and your life fills with love.
When did time ever solve anything? You are the catalyst for change in your life, community and generation.
How many days old are you today? What will you do with the remaining days you have?
The hilarious Youtuber, Zefrank, illustrates the importance of life in this surprisingly touching video below.
Paul Gomez is the Manager, Hispanic/Latino Seeker Communications at United Methodist Communications. He hails from Las Vegas, NV and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
Contact: [email protected] or +1 (615) 312-3550
[Posted October 17, 2018]